Is this viable technique?

Hello, it’s me again. So I filmed my playing and tried some sequences suggested here. But I couldn’t understand what is wrong. I feel like the first note is generally correct. But rest is garbage. I tried several exercises and it doesn’t really matter which one I try I get similar results. I tried exercises suggested by @joebegly too.

Also I filmed from my phone and recorded from Amplitube and tried to combine them, it’s not the best quality but I hope it’s enough.

Maybe this style of playing is not for me, I don’t know. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

To me, what you’re doing looks like the beginnings of figuring out a motion that’s new to you. It stops/starts a little but I think that’s normal. I’d just keep doing a little bit of what you’re doing in that video for a few minutes at a time. It will clean itself up. Maybe you’re expecting too much too soon??? I think you’ve got a phenomenal fast mechanic and it looks like you’re maintaining the motion when you introduce the fretting hand. I’ve noticed in my own playing and seen countless threads on here from others where introducing the fretting hand just kills the picking hand mechanic. Sort of like what would happen if you brushed your teeth and tried to comb your hair with the other hand lol! I think you’re doing a great job of not letting this happen and you’re making good progress.

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Thank you for your encouraging words. I’ll keep testing and see if it it gets any cleaner.

Joe is correct, the starting and stopping of the motion is normal for a new technique. Over time you will learn how to do it smoothly and consistently for longer periods of time. You’re off to a great start with this.


Sorry for the confusion here on what we mean by using your “fast” technique. This technique is actually “too fast” for what you’re trying to do here. It is hyperpicking technque and it is so fast that most people can’t use this for playing lines where you have one pickstroke per note. Instead, you should think of hyperpicking as more of a synchronized tremolo. Great hyperpickers, like John Taylor, can do things like measure out exactly four or eight pickstrokes per note, at very fast speeds, and get some awesome effects, like this:

Again, you have a great start with this technique. Over time, you can definitely learn to do things like what John is doing. However you should think of it like its own language or mode that you drop into, where you are playing multiple pickstrokes per note. At least at first.

For single note lead playing at slower speeds, you need a technique that can go a little slower and still be smooth. I’m sure your elbow technique can do this. What does it look like if you slow it down a little bit, where it doesn’t feel vibrational any more, but is still fast? Show us a clip of what your tremolo looks like at that speed.

Sorry for the lack of clarity here. This is why it’s important to look at video. If someone gives you advice without actually looking at your technique, they could be giving you the wrong advice.

I hope this isn’t off topic, but do you know how John is able to use what I assume is a DSX motion, play an even number of notes per string AND start each string change on a downstroke? I mean, I guess that’s what’s happening. It’s so fast and blurry I can’t tell lol! Maybe he’s starting on an upstroke? I know when you coached me into using a faster elbow mechanic you’d also advised some tremolo melodies. I could always do them fine on a single string, but due to the above question I couldn’t change strings with it. Starting on an upstroke felt weird, and changing in the middle of the beat that would allow a change after a downstroke messed up my rhythm too.

For example, this just won’t work with DSX


It would either need to start with an upstroke or change to the new string a 16th note early:


That’s hard at the 220+bpm territory. Does that make sense?

I recall you linked a Brendan Small example and I swear when I slowed that down in soundslice he was sort of cheating during the string changes (leaving out a 16th note to make the change).

Just curious on any advice for tremolo melodies that change strings, with a fast elbow technique like we’re seeing with John and @marquephoenix (and to a lesser extent, my own tremolo with an elbow mechanic).

John says he swipes it. I think it sounds great.

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Agreed, he sounds awesome. and for the record I love swiping. I’ve heard lots of people on the forum almost consider it a mistake. I’m not in that camp. If it’s good enough for Paul Gilbert, Al D and MAB, I’ll use the heck out of it…BUT…back to the John Taylor example, wouldn’t the ascending string changes be inside string changes? I thought swiping was only for outside string changes? Or maybe at that level of speed it just doesn’t matter?

Hi, I’ve been trying to slow down a little and be accurate but I couldn’t get very far. I don’t think this is a good/efficient technique. But elbow was the fastest on “Testing Your Motions”. Here is the video:

It’s a little quiet but you can still hear it. I don’t know what’s wrong but something definitely is :smiley:

This looks technically fine to me. What are you concerned about?

Can you plug into something and just do the motion itself smoothly on a single note for a 10 uninterrupted seconds or so? No fretting hand involvement, no starting and stopping the motion. Just a smooth and even as you can.

Do you have a way of recording your guitar sound in a DAW with an amp sim, or a real amp with a mic? You’ll get the best sense of what your attack sounds like that way. Smooth consistent attack is what we’re looking for. Super quiet practice videos where you’re just barely hitting the string make it hard to tell if things are really sounding the way they should. Even for you sitting in the same room, you need to be able to hear and feel what’s going, as you do it, on to know if it’s right.

Yes I’ve got a USB audio interface. Here’s a recording. I’m just hitting the same note repeatedly:

It stops and starts and isn’t smooth enough. Do you think that’s normal?

Thanks for recording. Can you do that with video? It’s hard to correlate what we’re hearing with what we’re seeing. I hear some background noise in that recording. Are you playing so softly that you really have to punch the preamp gain on your interface to get any level? Because that’s potentially a negative if you can only player super softly. Otherwise if it’s just an issue of your interface or your amp setting that’s fine.

Re: whether this is normal, yes it’s normal for beginners. Did you watch the “beginner tremolo” video?

I ask only because we’ve tried to anticipate as many of these things as possible and put them in the lessons to make issues like yours clearer, so you have less confusion when you’re first starting out. It’s helpful for us to know if we’re explaining things clearly or not.

Yes I watched it but the person in that video is a complete beginner. I’m sorry if I missed anything. Well actually I’m a beginner to elbow technique but I thought I’d still be better than a complete beginner.

And yes I think you are right about playing softly. When I try to do no edge picking the string gets stuck(ie. garage spikes) and if I do edge picking it gets very quiet. And I already do pickslanting so I don’t know why that happens…

Here’s a video:

You are better than a complete beginner. She has more randomness than you do, but it’s a spectrum. If you are new to elbow motion it’s perfectly normal to have to learn to be smooth, even, consistent. This is not a simple thing. An expert can play a beautiful tremolo with perfectly even attack for long stretches. That’s not so simple.

One thing is you don’t always need to use the smallest pick on the string, smallest motion, etc. Are you trying to do that, or is that just what happens when you try to use this motion? When you use tiny motions it is easier to miss the string and have dropouts. It’s also harder to have dynamics (loud, soft, fast, slow) because everything becomes super quiet.

At medium speeds you want motions which are relaxed, where you can control the volume level by applying more/less arm force, and by gripping the pick harder or holding it more loosely. Gripping loosely to allow flop can also prevent the pick from grabbing the string so if you feel like you are having garage spikes, you can try that.

If you slow down from this speed, can you make it more relaxed, with louder attack? And by applying a little more force with your arm, but loosening up your grip, can you get a slightly larger picking motion in general? It won’t take much, only a very small change in your arm force and a small change in your grip force to see produce these changes.

See if you can get more control with different combinations of slow and fast, and loud and soft. This all looks pretty good, so only a little experimentation when you have a few minutes here and there should be necessary. Don’t make it your job or play for hours, you’ll burn out.

One thing is you don’t always need to use the smallest pick on the string, smallest motion, etc. Are you trying to do that, or is that just what happens when you try to use this motion?

No, it just happens when I try to play faster. So you are right, I can make it louder if I play slower. I’ll test more extensively when I have the time.

Thank you for your detailed suggestions. They are really helpful and direct. And now I can continue watching primer, yay!